Why we price differently than every other limousine service

November 05, 2013

- Posted by Stephen Chapek

more than a limo service

Because we, like you, are clients!  We want to know what we are paying in advance and hate nasty surprises. Read on to learn more about our customer focused transparent pricing explained in detail.

Brilliant Transportation strives for excellence in all that we do. That is reflected in the type of vehicles that we drive, the chauffeurs that we hire and train, and how our office staff interacts with clients and helps them plan their itineraries. As our corporate logo says, “Expect More”.

Why We Price Differently

The way we approach our pricing and customer service is also different from the way most traditional limo companies operate. Let me explain. Many companies will charge you what the industry refers to “plus, plus” pricing.  In other words, many limo companies will entice you with a low hourly rate in order to get your business. But once the final bill arrives it is much more than expected. That’s because they have no qualms about tacking on additional fees to cover their actual cost of doing business. So they get you with their low hourly rate, then they add a ‘service fee’ for picking you up, fuel surcharges, and on top of that they will often add an obligatory ‘gratuity charge’ which often runs 20 percent or more.  

Thus what was often thought to be a bargain turns out not to be so. This is fairly typical in the industry where limo drivers are paid like wait staff, a minimum wage, or even less where allowed, and then drivers are expected to compensate for their wage by depending on tips. If everyone were generous tippers, this might not be a problem. In some cases, the drivers are not receiving those tips, at least on every trip, and so they are inadequately  paid for their time. And unhappy drivers are not likely to provide exceptional service. In other cases, the passenger is literally paying the driver’s wage, by having to pay a mandatory gratuity fee. While there’s nothing wrong with paying for services rendered, what’s not cool is being quoted one low price, but having to pay another, more expensive price in the end.

We won’t nickel and dime you like that at Brilliant. Our pricing is inclusive, net to you. What you see on the quote is what you’ll end up paying for service, provided the length of your trip is not modified or you don’t have special food and beverage requests.  The only ‘extras’ (per se) are items we collect on behalf of New York State and City.  Specifically, in New York State, an 8.875% tax is required for trips that originate and end in-state. And in areas where tolls are required, tunnels, bridges and turnpikes and the like, these are also extras. But they can be estimated ahead of time and are always included in your quote, depending on your routing.

What’s more is that the way we pay our drivers is also different. Brilliant Transportation aims to set the bar for exceptional service, so we don’t believe our drivers should scrape by on minimum wage. First off, all of our chauffeurs are W2 employees.  We do not subscribe to the “independent operator” model that has come under scrutiny and resulted in numerous Department of Labor audits and penalties for many industries including the transportation industry.  We happily pay Social Security and Workers Compensation for all of our employees including our chauffeurs.  Furthermore, our chauffeurs are paid significantly above industry hourly wages and are paid overtime as required by law. The result we feel is measured in better service to the client.

Another result is that you are paying the price you expected to, and the prices reflect the actual cost of providing that service. When you compare the cost of providing that first class service with other limo companies, and compare our inclusive pricing to the ‘plus, plus’ pricing of other companies, that is a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison. We believe in that regard, our rates are competitive with other premier services and offer a far greater value to our discerning clientele.

In regards to the cost of gratuities, the cost is not obligatory, but our chauffeurs love to receive tips too. We encourage our clients to reward our drivers for the exceptional service they provide. But our policy on gratuities is that it is always at the discretion of  the client. Please DO tip for exceptional service, but don’t feel obligated where it is not warranted. With Brilliant, you will never be unpleasantly surprised when the bill is due, that we have added all these additional charges that significantly inflate the cost of your trip.


6 Pricing Policies You Should Know About

Transfer Rates

Another advantage of our Brilliant pricing policies are the flat rates we offer for frequently travelled routes. Most limo companies charge by the hour, and we do too. But for frequently used runs, we offer the simplicity of a flat rate. These flat rates cover a range of destinations, like going to the airport, but also for busy inter-city routes.

We offer flat rates for destinations like Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., the Hamptons, Montauk, Newport, and Baltimore from our New York location. From our Los Angeles office, we offer flat rates to places like Santa Barbara, Disneyland, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco.

Wait Time explained

The nice thing about these flat rates is that you can calculate the cost of your trip in a flash and it takes the guesswork out of planning long-distance trips. These flat rates will not vary, unless significant delays occur at the behest of the client. We make sure we are on time, and we like our clients to be on time as well.  While our clients may take as long as they wish, if the scheduled and contracted departure time is delayed beyond an initial 15 minutes, we will begin charging wait time.

Wait time is billed at the same rate as driving time, so it is our hourly rate for that vehicle broken down into 15 minute increments. Once the 15 minute grace period is used up, the clock resets and wait time is calculated using the original departure time. We must do this because our time is valuable as well, and occasionally the same vehicle or chauffeur will be booked for another trip later the same day. Thus a delay by one client could potentially affect another client, and we wish to avoid those situations.

Why are your flat rates calculated like round-trips? Garage to Garage and “travel time” explained

Another important concept to understand in how we bill our trips is the term ‘garage to garage’. In other words, our billing starts when our vehicle leaves its garage and the clock runs until that vehicle is re-garaged. We follow this guideline because once a vehicle is on the road, significant operating expenses are incurred. How this affects the client is that when they are taking a trip from New York to Boston, they will be billed from the time the vehicle leaves its garage in New York, travels to Boston, and then goes back to its base in New York City.

The client may ask, ‘it only took four hours to drive to Boston, why am I being billed for eight hours?’ The short answer is that we are based in New York, not Boston, so when we drive a passenger out of town one-way, the vehicle has to return to its base empty before it can accept another job. The client’s trip is preventing the vehicle from being used by another client, even if they are not actually sitting in the vehicle. And we must charge for that usage. This is known in the industry as a ‘deadhead’ leg, and that is why a trip to Boston will cost the client approximately eight hours of usage, and not just four.

Think of it this way, although the vehicle is empty, it is technically still chartered to your party and being used by your party until it returns to its normal service range and can be chartered by another client.

Hourly minimums

We impose three hour minimums on all of our vehicles (all versions of our Mercedes Sprinter Vans, and our Cadillac Escalade SUV).  Our 28 passenger luxury minibus and our 36 passenger luxury minibus have five hour minimums. 

The reason for the hourly minimums is simple: we are about creating bespoke transportation experiences and not about volume.  We feel we add the most value to the customer experience on longer charters and we therefore focus explicitly on that segment.

Hourly billing in 15 minute increments rounded up:

We bill hourly but in fifteen minute increments rounded up.  So, if your trip started at 9:00am and ends at noon, you will be charged for 3 hours.  However, if your trip ends at 12:10pm, you will be charged 3.25 hours because the 10 minutes past the hour is rounded to the nearest quarter hour (12:15pm).

Cleaning Fees:

Rarely, but on occasion, cleaning fees are assessed for damages or excessive wear during a charter.  These fees begin at $250 and will be assessed at Brilliant’s sole discretion.  If a client breaks the law by smoking in any vehicle, this charge will certainly be added as that vehicle undergoes special cleaning and is rotated out of our cycle until it meets our strict internal standards.

Topics: Brilliant Transportation

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The Brilliant Agency LLC
PO Box 9796, Jackson, WY, 83002

Luxury transportation experts focusing on special event transportation using Mercedes Sprinters, luxury mini buses, and coach buses in NYC and LA.